Apr 21

Management and Production Exercise

You are the editor of an anthology of articles written by different writers in different locations. The anthology will be published by a small commercial press, and that press will print and bind the anthology you provide. Make policy decisions on the following issues with the goal of creating a useful, high-quality anthology that can also be produced economically and efficiently:

  1. How will the articles be acquired? How can you get quality articles and a broad coverage of topics? Will you generally solicit in journals? Will some people be invited to contribute? If so, will acceptance be offered in advance or will their articles be subject to peer review? Will only original articles be accepted?
  2. How will you prepare copy ready for reproduction? Templates for the writers or something else? Will they submit text electronically?
  3. Printing economy dictates 8.5X11 inch pages. Will pages be laid out in two columns or in one column with wide margins? What are the pros and cons of each option?
  4. How consistent must individual chapters be? If one includes a list of references for further reading, must all of them?
  5. How and where will contributor biographies be printed: at the beginning of the anthology or with each chapter?
  6. What kinds of illustrations and how many per chapter will be allowed? What will be the responsibilities of authors for providing digital copies?


Now, make management decisions on the following issues with the goal of getting the anthology ready for production by the date the press has specified:

  1. When will chapters be due? Same due dates or variable dates?
  2. In what order will you edit the chapters? In sequence or is there a reason to proceed in a different order?
  3. What information will you have to communicate to the contributing writers about preparation of typescripts? Consider, for example, documentation style and length. What points should be covered in document specifications?
  4. Suppose one writer has a due date of the first of the month, and two weeks later, you still have not received the chapter. What can you do?
  5. Suppose one writer has submitted an electronic file that cannot be converted to your word processing system without extensive intervention in the text. Should your own production staff type the conversions, or should you ask the writer to revise and resubmit? What will determine your choice?
  6. Outline a form for tracking the progress of the anthology overall, including acquisition, acknowledgment of the manuscript, acceptance or rejection, and other production stages.

Apr 16

Proofreading and Translated Texts

  • Count and match everything you see.
  • Compare the lengths of sentences and paragraphs.
  • Look for cut-and-paste mistakes in English terms and phrases.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Follow your company’s guidelines for presenting trademarked names.
  • Trademark guidelines may also restrict the use of prepositions in a product name.
  • Watch for a particular language’s rules in punctuation and capitalization.

For example:

  1. French puts a space between a word and a semicolon.
  2. German capitalizes all nouns and words used as nouns.
  3. Spanish places an inverted question mark at the beginning of a question.
  4. Italian does not capitalize the days of the week or the months of the year.
  5. Check for broken and mislabeled links.
  6. Check all units of measure.
  7. Check the headers and footers.
  8. Look over terms that appear both in English and the foreign language.


Apr 16

Editing for Global Contexts

1. Notice the metaphors of wars and sports in the following paragraph, metaphors that are common in North American business language. What difficulties in translation might such metaphors create?

A department committee will meet for strategic planning to identify goals for surviving in light of the new policies of retrenchment. We will have to dig in to fight the misunderstanding of management about the department needs and goals. If our current funding is reduced, we will not be able to play on a level playing field with the competition. It appears that the vice president is trying to do an end run around our department manager.

2. Examine websites of embassies, such as www.china-embassy.org, and click on the “about” pages to see how countries present themselves online.

3. Search the Internet for “translation mistakes.”

Apr 07

Editing of Websites

As we get ready to start Project 4, here are some steps to try (to examine layout or other aspects) and elements to look for.

Early stages (Chapter 17): planning, analyzing the audience (Figure 17.3 on p. 316), company-specific requirements (Figure 17.4 on p. 317-9), and site-specific requirements (Figure 17.5 on p. 320).

Online content, making choices for organization and readability (Chapter 18)

Design and presentation (Chapter 19):

  1. Ten-Minute Layout Edit, p. 354
  2. Editing for Accessibility (five tests on p. 359)
  3. Editing for Usability (five elements on p. 361)

Mar 31

Illustrations and Type

First, let’s look at sentence pairs to determine how revision can inappropriately change meaning. For each revision, define the change in meaning. Suggest a way to edit the first sentence in the pair to improve style without changing meaning:

  1. Technical writers are now finding themselves in roles in product design and managing the production as well. Technical writers now find roles in product design and production management.
  2. The problem involves derivation of objective methods for evaluating the effect of adriamycin on the heart. The problem derives objective methods for evaluating the effect of adriamycin on the heart.

Now, let’s look at exercises involving illustrations and type/font.

    • Look at websites that need to serve the majority of the American population, such as the United States Post Office (www.usps.com) and the IRS (www.irs.gov). What visuals do they use to attempt clear communication with such a wide variety of literacy levels?
    • Go to Winthrop’s website and examine the visuals it uses to depict your campus and student body. Do these photographs represent your institution well and accurately? What editorial suggestions do you have to make them more accurate?
    • Type a paragraph in Times Roman, then copy it and reformat it in two additional typefaces (including one in sans serif style, such as Helvetica. Compare the amount of space each one takes. Characterize the type: is it inviting? sophisticated? masculine? elegant?

Mar 26

Practice with Style Sheets

Activity 1:

Based on the information in Chapter 4, make a style guide/sheet for these paragraphs so that subsequent decisions may be consistent. What features will require a decision about consistency of mechanics? Why would the typo “continous” not appear on the style sheet?

Ignitron Tubes were first used in dc-arc welding power supplies. An ignitron tube is a vacuum tube that can function as a closing switch in pulsed power (using a pulse of current rather than a continous current) applications. A closing switch is a switch that is not on or will not pass current until it is triggered to be on. When the tube is triggered to be “on,” it provides a path for the current. The ignitron tube is turned on by a device called an “ignitor.” The ignitor sits in liquid mercury inside the vacuum tube. The ignitron tube creates a path for the current by vaporizing mercury. More mercury will be vaporized as the current crosses the tube. When there is no current the vaporized mercury goes to the bottom of the tube and turns back into liquid.

When an Ignitron Tube turns on and passes current, this process is referred to as a shot. The greatest amount of current that ignitrons can presently handle is nearly 1,000,000 amps. The tube can handle this amount of current for five shots before the tube fails. Industry wants a tube that will handle 1000 shots before it fails.

Activity 2:

IEEE Editorial Style Manual

O’Reilly Stylesheet http://oreilly.com/oreilly/author/stylesheet.html

U.S. government department style guides

Activity 3:

Find a publication that you like to read. Find out what style guide it follows by looking at the author guidelines.

Mar 24

Midterm, Part III: Marking Digital Copy

Part III: Copy and paste into a Word document, make changes, and then upload the corrections to your Dropbox folder (the shared folder, not your general account):

Directions: Using Track Changes, edit this section of a report. Mark the title to be set in 18 point bold Helvetica, caps and lowercase, centered. Mark the paragraphs to be set in 10- point Times, flush left, ragged right, with a one-em paragraph indention.

Defining the domain of pragmatic development

Children need to learn how to formulate their social moves through language in a form

interpretable by their interlocutors and to interpret correctly the interpersonal significance of

others verbal overtures. Pragmatics is a branch of linguistics concerned with speech use and

studies of pragmatic development are concerned with how children acquire the knowledge

necessary for the appropriate, effective, rule-governed employment of speech in interpersonal

situations. Generally like developmental psychology, questions like the following kinds are of


1. What is the age of onset of particular skills?

2. By what processes are these skills acquired by the child?

3. What factors influence the speed and order of acquisition of these skills?

4. What sorts of individual differences emerge?


Children have to learn how to use language in order to make statements, to ask questions,

to request, to greet, to refuse, and so on; the so-called illocutionary speech acts. Ninio and Snow

claim that these are manifest communicative acts for which a speaker expresses a willingness to

be held accountable that are furthermore characterised by the presence, at least some of the time,

of overt linguistic markings, such as the interrogative grammatical mood for questions.


Most studies of how children are thought to speak in pragmatically appropriate ways

include background information on the social structure and familial arrangements of the society

under the study, many provide information about social and personality development, selecting

forms of address and other such linguistic politeness rules.

Mar 12

Electronic Editing of Text

For this grammar exercise, I want you to copy and paste these sentences/sections into the word processor of your choice and digitally mark them. Then, attach the changes to an email, and send it to me.

Correct the following sentences for spelling, misused words, capitalization, and abbreviation:

Undoubtably, the issue of personal is signifigant as well. Trutworthy employes are indispensible. The investigator can check employmant patterns at the store and in the area overall.

The Society for Technical Communication has planned feild trips to three Hi Tech company’s. Later in the year some students will attend the Annual Conference of the STC. All of these plans for travelling requie some extensive fund raising this Fall. The sponsers have proposed the establishment of an Editing Service. Student edtors would acquire jobs thru the Service and return 15 per cent of there earnings to the group.

Mar 12

Procedure for Conducting A Substantive Edit

(Courtesy of Dr. Palmer’s Technical Editing handout)

BEFORE accepting the editing task, ask the author

  • Who is the audience?
  • What is the purpose of the document? What information leading to what action?
  • What is the time frame for completing the task?
  • What type or level of edit is desired?
  • What type of compensation, if any, will you receive?

AFTER accepting a substantive editing task,

  1. Ask the author about corporate policy guidelines, other documents that might need to be incorporated into the one you are editing, ethical issues you should be aware of, and the context of use.
  2. Complete an ethical analysis based on the document’s audience and purpose.
  3. Conduct an organizational edit: briefly look over the document, outline the existing document, discern the existing structure, determine if the structure is appropriate for the audience and intended action (is more or less information needed? if structure is not appropriate, develop a revised outline), and review the revised outline.
  4. Analyze the content based on the document’s audience and purpose: review the text to make certain the information is presented in the most usable form, suggest specific shifts from text to tables/charts (and vice versa), and apply the three techniques for clarifying a document’s organization to the reader. The three techniques are verbal devices, visual devices, and page or screen design.
  5. Write author queries: to suggest significant deletions or additions in the content quality and quantity, to recommend structural changes, to question inappropriate ethical statements, and to suggest changes to enhance reader understanding.

Mar 12

Methods of Organization

As we move from copyediting to comprehensive editing, it is important to be aware of organizational methods that documents/texts may use.

Sequence: Chronological (instructions, processes, methods, procedures), Spatial (places, objects), and Alphabetical (index, glossary, reference manual)

Hierarchy : Division (parts of a whole), Classification (groups by relationship), Comparison/Contrast, and Advantages/Disadvantages

Combinations: General to Specific, Most-to-least important, Most-to-least used, Questions/Answers, Cause/Effect, and Problem/Solution

An editor must be able to:

  1. Read and outline an existing document to determine its organization.
  2. Based on the outline, evaluate the document’s effectiveness in meeting the author’s purpose and reader’s needs.
  3. Recommend a reorganization of the material if needed.
  4. Justify recommended changes for reorganizing the document.

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